Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The House of Living Stones
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (v. 22)
Psalm 118, which was traditionally sung during the Jewish Passover, is a scriptural portion that played a key role in Jewish history, in the life of the early Church and alsoin the modern ecumenical movement. Jesus, during his discourse with the religious authorities who plotted to kill him, quoted from this psalm to prove that he himself is the “cornerstone”, the long awaited Messiah(Mark 12: 10- 11).In Jesus the stone that the builders rejected hadbecome the cornerstone (Ps 118:22; Luke 20:17-18; Acts 4:10-11).The apostles later extended this imagery to argue that the Church, as the body of Christ, is itself “the house of living stones”. As Peter put it, “As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2: 4-5). We, as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), are members of the oikos (household) of God.
The oikos of God
Philip Potter, the former General Secretary of the World Council of Churches argues that it was this image and understanding of “the household of living stones”that has motivated the ecumenical movement. The household of God is not confined to the framework of the institutional church but extends to embrace “the whole inhabited earth” (oikoumene). According to Potter, “the ecumenical movement is the means by which the churches which form the house, the oikos of God, are seeking so to live and witness before all peoples that the whole oikoumene may become the oikos of God through the crucified and risen Christ in the power of the life-giving Spirit.”
The Cost of Discipleship
Being a member of God’s household, no doubt, is our awesome privilege but it is also a great responsibility. In recalling the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter says to the diaspora churches in Asia Minor that confessing Jesus as the living stone involves sharing the Lord’s suffering and the experience of resurrection. Members of the household of God, therefore, are expected to overcome divisions of race, caste, gender, economic disparity and sexual orientation. Jesus “himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2: 14). By coming to Jesus the “living stone”, we ourselves become living stones, in the process, sharing the Lord’s life and continuing his ministry of reconciliation and sacrificial service in the whole inhabited earth.
Prayer: Our dear Parent God, help us to grow to our full stature as members of the household of God.
Thought for the day: Does the household of God also includeall people and the environment?
Jesudas Athyal, Carmel MTC, Boston